Record the screen and annotate screenshots with Dropbox Capture

There are many screenshot utilities and some useful tools to record the screen of your computer, but Dropbox Capture simplifies the process and makes storing and sharing images and videos easy.

Dropbox started out as an online storage and sync utility that enabled you to access files on all of your computers or even online in a web browser. These days it is a suite of applications and while online storage is still at the heart of what it does, there are many tools and services that enable you to get more out of your online storage.

Dropbox Capture is a free utility that enables you to take screenshots or record videos of the Windows PC or Apple Mac desktop and save them online in your Dropbox account. Sharing is built in, so you can easily share images and clips with coworkers, friends, customers, clients and others.

The utility has many uses and an obvious one is to use it to create how-to videos, onboarding videos, help and support videos and so on. If someone wants to know how to do something on the computer, you could describe it in words, or simply capture a screenshot or video clip and share it with them.

I tried Dropbox Capture on a Windows PC with a free Dropbox account. Up to 200 minutes of video can be recorded for free, which is quite generous and you can create a lot of short how-to videos in that. There are no recording limits for paying Dropbox subscribers. Well, you are only limited by the amount of online storage you have.

Download and install

Download Dropbox Capture for your computer and install it. I tried the PC version, but there is a Mac app too. Install it, run it and it asks you to log into your Dropbox account. That is where the screenshots and video clips will be stored. You don’t need to have the Dropbox app installed on the computer, but you do need at least a free online account.

Capture screenshots

Although you can click the Dropbox Capture app and select what to do from a menu, it is best activated using shortcuts. For example, press the PrintScreen key on a PC and you are asked if you want to screenshot the whole screen, an area of the screen or a window. Point and click on a window or drag a box around the area to screenshot and it is captured.

The Dropbox Capture app menu. Take a screenshot or record the screen.
Access Dropbox Capture through the menu or keyboard shortcuts

The screenshot opens in a screenshot editor window. For some strange reason it cannot be moved. It can be resized or minimized, but not moved, which I found irritating. Apart from that, it is a usefl tool.

The screenshot editor can be used to annotate screenshots. You can add text, draw freely, draw lines and arrows, add circles and squares, crop and more. There is a blur tool that is useful for screenshots that contain personal or private information. Before sharing a screenshot with people, you can blur your email, account name or whatever you want.

Capture and annotate screenshots using Dropbox Capture.
Take screenshots and annotate them

After annotating the image, click Save and the screenshot is saved to your Dropbox online storage in a folder called Capture. You can also save and copy a shareable link to it. This is a handy feature and it is very easy to capture, annote and share an image.

Record the screen

Dropbox Capture is able to capture videos of the computer desktop and this enables you to record the screen and create short how-to videos, demonstrations, onboarding and help videos. If someone wants to know how to do something, you can quickly create a video showing them.

Dropbox Capture app settings and options in Windows.
Settings and shortcuts in Dropbox Capture

Using a keyboard shortcut or the app menu, you can start a new recording. As with screenshots, you have a choice of the whole screen, a selectable area of the screen, or a window.

There are two recording modes and one simply records what happens on the screen, but the other uses the computer’s webcam, which is standard with laptops, to add a small circular window in the bottom left corner showing your head and shoulders. People can see you and hear you as you make the recording, which is great for adding a personal touch to your screen recordings.

You can pause and restart the recording and you can even draw on it with a pen tool. This is great for highlighting things as you demonstrate how to do something.

Record the desktop with Dropbox Capture app.
Desktop recordings open in a simple video editor

When the stop button is pressed, the video clip opens in a web browser. A very basic video editor is available and this enables you to select a part of the recording and delete it. It enables you to trim the start and end or to cut out pauses or mistakes.

The video is saved to your Dropbox online storagein the Capture folder and you can make it private or copy a link, create a shareable thumbnail and link or copy an embed code that enables you to place it on a web page.

Share desktop recordings using Dropbox Capture app.
Options for sharing Dropbox Capture videos

In addition to recording the screen with or without your talking head, Dropbox Capture can also record just audio or use the computer’s webcam to take a photo.

Screenshots and videos can be accessed in the Capture folder in your Dropbox storage, but it can also be accessed through its own interface at which enables you to create clollections. Screenshots and videos can be added to a collection, which helps you keep them organized.

Final thoughts on Dropbox Capture

The thing that struck me most was how simple everything was. It just worked. Screenshots are so easy to take and annotate, you can easily record the screen, and everything is automatically saved to your online storage. Shareable links to everything are available and can be used anywhere.

You can do a lot with a free Dropbox account and free Dropbox Capture, so even if you don’t have a subscription, I recommend trying it. Recommend someone and in return you get an extra 20 minutes of recording time. It is unlimited anyway for subscribers. Dropbox Capture does just what I need at a price I can afford (free!). I like it a lot.

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